29 October 2010

Marketing Ideas

With my book making going up a notch and loving every minute I need to make sure I am covering all bases for getting my work out there and in front of people. Today I have been looking at marketing ideas. Quite liked the idea of having a memory stick branded and containing some of my work - that I can leave with clients - or be used to hand over work to clients.

Found a website that lets me upload my logo to the product just to get an idea of how it would look - much fun.

Having requested quotes for 50 1GB branded sticks it seems they will cost approximately £5 each. But useful to have in my mind for the future.

Spent some time over the last week updating my website - www.joannecooper.biz - with new images, adding a price list and making sure special offers are visible for customers. I have also added a piece about copyright and infringement after advise from Ian. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

22 October 2010


Have always been struggling with being more creative and looser in my style. On a recent trip to Chester Cathedral I tried experimenting.

I took a photograph of the stained glass window above the main entrance.

After viewing this as a thumbnail on my camera I decided to try something different. This is the result.

I have used this image in a book I created and it always causes comments as people flick through. The feedback is always good.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


It's funny where research takes you.

"All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking," so says Nietzsche.

Artists and writers alike attach great worth to this and celebrate their inspiration derived from taking a stroll. For me it is a way of giving my time wasting some validity. Yet it does work because I know I have my best ideas at that moment when I wake up, when my head is clear and my thoughts have free rein. The same happens when out for a walk.

I'm not the only one that thinks this - Henry Thoreau said: "Me-thinks the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow."

Taking a step outside of your normal habits gives room and space for the mind to think things through. We are designed to thrive outside - not at a desk; high ceilings, or the sky, prompt unrestricted thoughts; the rhythm beaten out by the sound of our feet hitting the ground brings on a trance-like state which allows for dreams and thoughts to work; our brain functions better when walking - it's the whole multi-tasking thing as long as the two activities are different enough.

The main benefit I can see is that you are getting away from the problem - to step out of the house, or away from the desk, gives you chance to see around the problem; to find the inspiration.

"Going out," John Muir wrote, "was really going in."

Anyone fancy a walk then?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

20 October 2010

Ed Swinden

Great lecture today from Ed Swinden.

He also spent some time with us after to have a look at our work. This was very interesting - it's good to talk about your work to people, however briefly. It gives you the chance to refine and develop how you tell your story and gauge whether your passion comes across.

Here are my notes:

He summarised his presentation with this slide:

Of the award winning 'Street B' work that he showed us Ed said his favourite photograph was this:

This is my favourite. I have seen it quite a few times and perhaps it is familiarity - but none-the-less I do like the geometry.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


There are moments in every day that I am grateful I am a photographer.
There are moments in every day that I wish I had a camera permanently in my hand.
There are moments in every day that I see something worth photographing.
One day I shall be selfish and devote every second to capturing those moments.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

16 October 2010

Mini Book

Not surprisingly the 3 x mini books have arrived from Snapfish before the larger Book arrives. I am very pleased with these. This time I have put a picture of an eye on the front rather than my details because I think the last one was picked up and taken because the person thought it was a business card! Well that's what I choose to think anyway. I will put my details on the back page.

The Big Book
I was unable to go back to see the client last week on Thursday/Friday because the weather was just awful. Also I think I want to be able to take the first step book with me just so she knows it is coming together. It will also give me the chance to show her some of the images I have taken so far and gauge her reaction.

I showed a friend the images for this project last night - they were very impressed. I have to say that seeing them with fresh eyes after 5 days of not seeing them I am confident that I have some lovely shots. I believe my client will ultimately be pleased with the finished result.

Until I have the Book back I will not make a start on the page layouts for the finished Big Book because I want to make sure the images work well together and the ideas I had for page layouts are successful.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

RIBA Stirling Prize 2010

I am fascinated by architecture.

My band of merry photographers and I often take a day out and visit a cathedral or church and attempt to capture its essence. We love these trips. I love the architecture and the iconography. After watching Richard Taylor's 'Churches: How to Read Them' I am beginning to understand what they are saying to me.

I recently watched a Culture Show special when it presented the 2010 RIBA Stirling Prize. I found this very entertaining and now want to visit all the shortlisted entries to photograph them - as they are in UK, Germany and Italy it will be unlikely that I will achieve this, but the ones in UK are definitely on my list.

I was intrigued by a lecture Tom Dyckoff gave about how the early 20th Century Modernist movement has inspired the architecture of the entrants and how they are moving into the 21st Century.

I made notes:

I also thought I should add images of the buildings mentioned:

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford (guardian.co.uk)

Pompideu Centre, Paris (greatbuildings.com)

MAXXI Museum, Rome (architecturesdesign.com)

Villa Savoye, Poissy (artnews.org)

Lloyds Building, London (thelondontraveller.com)

Neues Museum, Berlin (guardian.co.uk)

Park Hill, Sheffield (guardian.co.uk)

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

15 October 2010

Found items

There were many items found during the restoration of the building I am photographing including wallpaper, electricty bills, pieces of lino and an empty packet of cigarettes. History shows that these were only manufactured for a few months during 1939. 

I have had in the back of my mind that the book could be more than just pages that there could be something more tactile about the book.

I once bought a photo album - which I have never used - because the cover was incredibly tactile with Hessian rope and the binding consisted of a bound twig.

I want to use something that will lift the book. The trouble with using the found items is that they are very precious and unique. I have thought about adding a ribbon as a place mark to the book once it is delivered and perhaps attached a button to the ribbon. I did this with the holiday journal I recently created on a trip to Scotland.

I also have some cord with tassels that might give a luxurious feel to it.

I shall experiment when the book arrives and talk to students that are able to create interesting metal objects. These could then be attached to the ribbon and dangle outside the book. A fake found item?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

What next?

Consideration with all images taken should always be towards what is going to happen to them once they are home and on the computer.

If the images have been taken for a specific brief for a client then the answer is obvious. But I always find that I also take photographs for me even when out on a commission.

Images will always have multi-purposes and some are going to be useful for selling on in many different ways. In the case of a set of images these could be turned into a postcard. Some might work well as a greeting card. Others might be turned into prints mounted and frames or canvasses. This is what I have been able to do with my favourite abstract images - in particular the blue bottles:

After the very weird snow fall we had one very quiet and still night in April 2008 I went out out take photographs around the village. I am now being asked to think about a community/village Christmas card for the Post Office and also for Ashby Woulds Town Council. I have created a couple of sheets with my preferred images on and I shall leave it for the Post Office Mistress and the Town Clerk to let me know which they prefer.

I may even be able to make some money, fingers crossed.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Calke Abbey

Delightful couple of hours spent at Calke Abbey. We had no specific brief - apart from presenting 6 images on our return. 

I focussed on classic views of parts of the abbey visit with the avenue/drive and the frontage of the stables; the decay and time standing still quality that pervades Calke with the rusty hinge, the woodworm marked wood and peeling paint; and an unusual look at an obvious view of the building.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


The film has been picked up and first glance the images look blooming gorgeous.

They are in focus and they are nicely exposed - what more could a girl ask for. To ensure I got the correct exposure I did make use of my light metre which I have been given as a birthday present. I knew I would not be making much use of it until I got my hands on a medium format camera again. I also double checked the reading from the light metre with a reading from my digital camera (set to Auto) so that I had 2 readings from which to make a decision. The FujiChrome film was out of date but I cannot see any tint or cast on the transparencies. I know that the College shop has quite a few of these out of date films left so I might just pop along and buy a lot more as they are good and will be slightly cheaper.

I have crudely scanned them in on equipment I have at home still in their protective sleeve and without removing dust off the scanner. The resulting poor quality is because of the way I have captured them to show here rather than the quality of the transparency.

I now need to get them scanned in properly. My scanner will only scan 35mm negatives so I will need to make use of equipment at Uni as that can scan medium format negs/transparencies.

I would like to go back with the mamiya and move further back from the building. I want to replicate a found image I have been given that shows the building from the other side of the road and the railings are prominent.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

12 October 2010

Book - deadline

Today is my self-imposed deadline for sending off the book so that it stands a chance of being delivered in time to be shown to Ed Swinden when he gives his lecture on 20th October.

My day did not go well: Firstly ... a hose on my car leaked and caused steam to billow out from under my bonnet. Fortunately it is still under warranty and the garage is based in Burton - so 4 hours later it was all fixed and sorted. Secondly ... I forgot to pick up my memory sticks containing all the images and information for the book. I would not have been able to complete the page layouts for the book had I stayed at Uni.

I was beginning to think I would have been better off staying in bed. However once I got home I achieved an awful lot. Thankfully I had access to all my photographs and was able to amend them to properly fit the page layouts in Snapfish.

I am very happy with the book and the layout. I ordered the book and delivery should be in 6-10 days - fingers crossed for 6.

Lesson learned:
What might appear to be the start of a really horrid day can actually end up being very productive and entirely satisfactory. The lesson should be - to never panic.
I also need to make sure everything is ready to go when I go to bed. I clearly do not think things through properly as I leave the house in the morning.

What a shame 
The day of Ed coming to see us has dawned and yet the book has still not arrived. Snapfish sent me an email saying it would be delivered on 19th Oct. I waited till 10.30am on 20th before going into Uni but my postie did not arrive. Grrr. What a shame. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Book Layouts

I have decided that the book I create for this assignment will not be the finished book I present to my client. I need to return to take more photographs (which has been planned for this Thursday) plus they have found more items and information for me that I would like to add to the book. This means that I will create the final book for the client in a different way to the way I will create the book for my assignment. I believe that I have images that capture the essence of the building.

I will be using Blurb to create my finished book but for the assignment I decided to use Snapfish as I like the way you can change the page layouts for individual pages - plus it gave me some fabulous ideas on what layouts would work and also which clearly would not. 

The was a good example of what does not work - I need to carefully choose the images and edit them so that they sit within the book creating software and show all the details within the image and not produce weird crops like these.

I created the front cover for the book to fit the proposed book that I will create on Blurb - however the snapfish software cropped my image and I therefore lost the words.

I liked the idea of grouping images together. These for example are all images that are connected with the front door of the building.

Again the software was showing my some excellent ways to group the images and also that I can add a little text if necessary.

This is over the top but I can see that grouping together the images of the ornate cornices and the iconic gasolier is a good idea.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Book - photographs

I have been collected the found items and images from the client and making preparations to visit and take my own images. I did try to do this one Friday but the weather was appalling and I cancelled due to the monsoon like conditions. The weather was gorgeous on the Saturday afternoon and so I went to photograph the building using both my Canon 5D using 24-105mm and 50mm Macro lenses and the Mamiya RB67 with FujiChrome colour transparency film. I was very happy with the images. But got very frustrated with my tripod. I must ask Vinny about better ones.

Lessons learned:
Always have a Plan B and don't worry or be unprofessional if Plan A doesn't work. Some things (like the weather) are out of my control.
Always be on the look out for better equipment - but do the best I can with the equipment I have at all times.
I have processed the digital images and here are a few of my favourites.

I have taken the film into 'Photo' in Nottingham. However the usual 1 hour turnround was hindered by the fact that the guy who processes the films was on holiday. I will be waiting a week rather than an hour.

When I have them I shall scan them, upload them and discuss them here. 

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Book Creation

28th September

Given an assignment - to create a book that needs to be ready by 20th October (when Ed Swinden will be a guest lecturer) to cover one of these themes: Object; Place; People; Narrative.

I have made 2 books over the summer - but this needs to be a new book and not be a portfolio style book but to contain a cohesive and connected set of images.

I have a commission to produce a 'coffee table book' for a client who has restored a Grade II Listed Building in the Churchgate Conversation Area of Loughborough. I have decided to make use of this assignment to help me develop and work through my ideas for my client.

I produced a tearsheet of images that have given me inspiration for the photographs I will be taking.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -